Clarkson, the small community stretched along U.S. 62 in Grayson County, is home to Kelley Beekeeping Co. founded 97 years ago by the late Walter T. Kelley.

Still one of the world’s largest suppliers of beekeeping supplies, the company’s identity is reflected throughout the community and in particular during the popular Clarkson Honeyfest scheduled this year for Sept. 22-25.

The city is devoted to pollinators and the only Kentucky community to earn the designation of Bee City USA.

So it’s not surprising to hear that Mayor Bonnie Henderson recently issued a proclamation declaring Aug. 21 as Honey Bee Awareness Day. The proclamation describes the critical role honeybees play in pollination, making them essential in the production of more than 90 food crops. The economic impact on farming can be in the billions.

The Bee City website describes pollinators as “keystone species” in the earth’s ecosystem. In grade school, most of us learned how a bee buzzes from plant to plant spreading pollen and ensure the cycle of nature works as it should. It is a central part of food production.

“Pollinators touch our lives in numerous ways each day, including being responsible for approximately one third of the food and drink we consume,” the website says. “The value of crop pollination has been estimated between $18 and $27 billion annually in the U.S.” t

Many of these species are endangered as the result of disease, pesticides and loss of habitat. In some circles, climate change also is blamed for reduced bee populations.

The work of neighborhood beekeepers and special places such as First Presbyterian Church’s flower garden and effort to save natural grasses all contribute to protecting bee populations, which in turn will save the human race.

Clarkson is to be commended for its efforts, but it should not be alone. The future of bees needs to move up on everyone’s list of priorities.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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